HOUSTON – A man investigators say tried to blow up a Confederate statue in Houston’s Hermann Park Saturday already had a criminal history involving explosive chemicals.
KHOU 11 Investigates discovered 25-year-old Andrew Cecil Schneck was released from probation in the earlier case last year, after serving less than half of his probation sentence.
According to court records,Schneck plead guilty in 2014 to storing an explosive in his family’s Houston home. Investigators say inside they discovered picric acid, a chemical once popular in military explosives.
He was sentenced to five years of probation, and ordered to pay nearly $160,000 in restitution.
But last fall, federal court Judge Nancy Johnson cut that sentence short after Schneck’s lawyer argued, “Schneck has matured and his focus is no longer concentrated on high-risk activities,” and that his client “is not a risk to public safety.”
His lawyer noted that Schneck graduated from college while he was on probation. He received a chemistry degree from Austin College in 2016.
The end to Schneck’s probation meant he no longer had to follow the conditions of his supervised release. That included a ban on coming in contact with explosive materials.
A court employee who answered the phone said Judge Johnson was not available to comment on the case Monday.
Saturday night, federal prosecutors say a Houston park ranger saw Schneck kneeling in the bushes in front of the General Dowling Monument holding what appeared to be a timer and wires in two boxes. Investigators believe Schneck also had two explosive substances with him at the time.